Starbucks Spirituality: Finding God in our Coffee Culture - John Van Sloten

October 01, 2006

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Media @ New Hope CalgaryToday we’re going to talk about Starbucks (and the whole coffee house movement).
What’s going on in a phenomenon like this?
What in the world is God saying through it all?

“The day [dad] died, of lung cancer, in January 1988, was the saddest of my life. He had no savings, no pension. More important, he had never attained fulfillment and dignity from work he found meaningful. As a kid I never had any idea that I would one day head a company. But I knew in my heart that if I was ever in a position where I could make a difference, I wouldn’t leave people behind.”
Howard Shultz, former Starbucks CEO

“In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father's will that even one of these little ones should perish..”
Jesus, Matthew 18:14

“Expect more than others think possible”
Howard Shultz, former Starbucks CEO

"I assure you, even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible."
Jesus, Matthew 17:20, NLT

“Care more than others think wise”

“Put your life on the line for your friends.”
Jesus, John 15:13, MSG

“Risk more than others think safe”
You’ve figured the pattern out by now…

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
Luke 9:24, NIV

“Dream more than others think practical”

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”
Ephesians 3:20, MSG

John quotes from these books in his message.
Pour your heart into it - By Howard Schultz, Former CEO, Starbucks
"Engaging God's World" Dr. Cornelius Plantinga, Calvin Theological Seminary

John's interview with CBC Radio

God of Wonders by Mac Powell Mac, Cliff & Danielle Young


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September 29, 2006
I think a major draw for Starbucks specifically is the "guarantee" of getting the same thing every time. Their brand is built on you being able to place your order (once you learn how of course...) and get the same result EVERY time at EVERY location. This is a guarantee that we just don't ever get in real life from relationships. We can control the result at Starbucks. We know what to expect and that alone is worth the price tag and the language aquisition required to order. The initiation is worth it. I know that I depend on them to give that to me. This is also true of our relationship with God - we know he is there - no matter what, no matter where we go, we know we are His! Safe, but costly. To know this peace we must submit ourselves to and place our trust in him. I've often thought how comforting it was to know that I could trust that my money was well spent at Starbucks - it wouldn't be wasted - they would always come through (for my caffeine fix anyway). I know this to be true of God as well. My trust is well placed, my investment is safe and He will always be there when I need him. I depend on that...

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September 27, 2006
Sometimes there's this beautiful thing that happens when you stop for coffee and get not only the balm of a peaceful moment over a hot cup... but when you also get this sense that someone poured a little of themselves into the cup as well. It doesn't happen all the time... especially in our current labour crunch. But, when it does... it really is wonderful. Sometimes you get a glimpse of someone who truly loves what they do... they love owning and running a coffee shop/a meeting place, they love creating new intriguing beverages, they love drizzling the perfect caramel crosshatch, they love presenting a latte with a perfect flourish of foam and espresso on top. I can't help but see God in that... in a heart that loves what it is doing. In hands that really care about what they are creating. There's nothing like ordering a Caramel Macchiato and having your Barista say ' I LOVE making these!!' and seeing in their eyes and hands that what they are doing is so much more than just a job to them. It's in these moments that I can't help but think of the God I know who delights in presenting me with a stunning cloud formation, a brilliant starry night or the beautiful face of a friend. And He doesn't have to...He could just hand me life and be done with it, but He makes it beautiful.

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September 27, 2006
The first word that comes to mind when I think about coffee shops is community. In communities everywhere the 'coffee shop' is often a gathering place where people gather to talk about everything under the sun over a good cup of jo. The quote you mention from the founder of Starbucks is very appropriate - coffee shops are often a third place where people can get a sense of belonging or place to shed the worries of the outside world - if only for 15 minutes - and sit in quiet contemplation; a sactuary of sorts.
Without getting into a rant on Starbucks vs the independent coffee shop, there has to be something other than the $5 coffee and sanitized, sterilized environments found in many Starbucks that draws so many people in. Aside from the fact that a Starbucks is usually never more than several hundred feet away from you in any given city, people find community there and are drawn to the relationships and fellowship that grow there - with the staff, with the patrons.
I do not think that it is a coincidence that God is using at least one coffee shop as a place where people can be and feel His presence in the community. Right now, a small coffee shop in Santa Monica LA exists for the sole purpose of being the light of God in that community (okay...shamelss plug for my brother and sister in law check it out at The CRC set out a number of years ago to use this coffee shop as a church plant (for lack of a better word) tasked with bringing the presence of God into that community. Afterall, what better way to get plugged into the fabric of a community than though their sanctuary of all things coffee? Their story is pretty cool and definately can testify that there is MUCH more to the coffee shop culture than dark roast, foam, and perhaps a little caramel.
Darren Clark

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New Hope Church 2006
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Matthew 18:14,Matthew 17:20,Matthew 18:14,Luke 9:24,culture

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